The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
UPDATE: Police in New York City arrested Salvatore Perrone, 64, over the Thanksgiving weekend and charged him with using a sawed-off .22-caliber rifle he carried in a duffel bag to kill three Brooklyn shopkeepers in the last four months. People who saw surveillance footage of Perrone, who’s white, pointed police to Perrone, despite an artist’s drawing that depicted a balding black man as the suspect. Dubbed “Son of Sal” by his neighbors for his annoying conduct, Perrone may have had previous contact with his victims through his work as a fabric and garment salesman who wanted to start his own clothing line, according to media accounts. He was charged with three counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree murder, an additional count filed because he allegedly killed three people within two years.
Hate crime detectives in New York City are joining the investigation into three unsolved killings of Brooklyn business owners in the past four months – crimes believed to have been carried out by a serial killer. ( continue to full post… )
If a white man is attacked and murdered because he was “hanging out” with black friends, should that be investigated as a federal hate crime?
That question looms in Louisiana after 24-year-old Michael Luke “Boulon” Darby was fatally stabbed earlier this month outside a bar in Lafayette, where he had gone with two friends who are African-American. ( continue to full post… )
It happened again this week. A woman in Louisiana told police that she had been set afire in a horrifying hate crime Sunday — only to have police, after a full-tilt investigation, say yesterday that she had fabricated the story.
Sharmeka Moffit, 20, set herself on fire in a park in Winnsboro, La., Police Chief Lester Thomas told a news conference late yesterday. She earlier told police that she had been attacked by three men of unknown race who were wearing “T-shirt hoodies.” A racial slur and the letters “KKK” were found daubed on her car when police arrived within one minute of her call to 911. A major investigation involving the Winnsboro Police Department, the Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office and the state police was launched.
Her story, like those of several other people who fabricated stories about hate crime attacks recently, was odd from the start. Despite the very rapid response of police, they found no suspects or vehicles at the park when they arrived. Moffit also called her sister after her 911 call, a remarkable thing for a woman who was supposedly already on fire, and who is now in critical condition with third-degree burns over 60% of her body. In addition, both black and white town officials said that Winnsboro enjoyed remarkably good race relations. ( continue to full post… )
Update: Late Tuesday afternoon, authorities in Louisiana said Sharmeka Moffitt, a 20-year-old African-American woman, set herself on fire in a park in Winnsboro, La., Sunday night and faked what appeared to be a brutal, racially motivated hate crime. The alleged attack rattled the small city of 5,000 residents, dredging up memories of the state’s racially violent past. Moffitt had told police three men doused her with a flammable liquid and set her ablaze. “It’s been a very disturbing case for everyone involved,’’ the Franklin News quoted Winnsboro Police Chief Lester Thomas as saying at a news conference Tuesday. The authorities said that Moffitt’s fingerprints were on the cigarette lighter and the lighter fluid recovered near the crime scene, adding that a racial slur and the letters KKK that were written in toothpaste on Moffitt’s car were linked to female DNA. “I’m speechless,’’ Winnsboro City Council member Betty Johnson told Hatewatch after hearing the attack was a lie. “You know we will continue to pray for her. She needs a lot of help.’’
The small Louisiana city of Winnsboro was filled with shock, rumors and prayers Tuesday as residents anxiously waited for law enforcement officials to determine who set a 20-year-old African-American woman on fire in a local park Sunday night – and why.
“We’re hoping the police will handle this before it escalates any further,” Betty Johnson, a member of the Winnsboro City Council told Hatewatch Tuesday, adding that “some of the younger people in town” are saying “somebody is going to pay for this.”
“But we don’t know who did it,” Johnson said. “We don’t know for sure what happened.” ( continue to full post… )
Authorities in Nevada may have just aborted another mass shooting with the arrest of an 18-year-old, self-professed militia leader who authorities say planned to “conduct mass killings” and “bragged about plans to shoot people on the Las Vegas strip.”
Steven Matthew Fernandes, who claimed to be a member of the Southern Nevada Militia, was arrested by FBI agents last month after three separate informants provided information about the teenager building and exploding bombs, amassing “an arsenal of weapons” and boasting of his killing prowess. ( continue to full post… )
Federal hate crime charges were filed today in Ohio against an Indiana man, Randolph Linn, who is a suspect in last weekend’s arson fire that heavily damaged the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo.
Linn was charged with intentionally defacing, damaging and destroying religious property, and with using fire and explosives to commit a felony, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced. ( continue to full post… )
Muslims and their places of worship “are clearly under attack,” says the president of one of the country’s largest mosques, which was heavily damaged four days ago in an arson fire.
“We’re actually reeling in disbelief,” Dr. Mahjabeen Islam, president of the Islamic Center of Toledo in Ohio, told Hatewatch today in describing the devastation caused by a fire deliberately set in the mosque’s prayer area on Sunday afternoon, just minutes after worshippers had left the building.
“This is a hate crime and it’s very significant it was started in the center of the prayer area, right under the dome,” said Islam. The mosque she heads is the third largest in the United States, a 70,000-square foot landmark, visible for miles, with 3,000 members who will celebrate the center’s 32nd anniversary on Friday. ( continue to full post… )
The leader of an Amish splinter sect in Ohio and 15 of his followers were convicted of federal hate crimes today for forcibly shaving the beards and hair of breakaway members of the religious community.
Amish bishop Samuel Mullet, 66, faces a minimum of 10 years in prison when he is sentenced, likely late this year.
The case marks the first convictions in Ohio under the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, enacted in 2009. ( continue to full post… )
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is convening an important hearing in Washington today to examine the threat of domestic extremism and hate crime in the wake of the horrific attack on Sikh worshippers in Wisconsin last month.
If the hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights does nothing else but put additional pressure on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take far-right extremism seriously, it will be worthwhile. ( continue to full post… )